Portugal is usually referred to as the “small country next to Spain,” but as one of the oldest countries in Europe, it is a beautiful place to visit. Portugal has managed to keep its historic monuments, churches, and castles while still being on the cusp of new technologies.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is an enchanting city. Tourists can enjoy walking through the cobbled streets and enjoy leisurely meals in the city squares. After the sun sets, enjoy the wine bars and hip nightclubs that Lisbon has to offer. Be sure to plan a visit here in Febuary during the Lisbon carnival. The parade features fantastic costumes, bands, and floats. The citizens of Lisbon dress up and there is dancing in the streets and constant parties during the entire Carnival season.
For the foodie in the group, be sure to visit Pasteis de Belem. The custard tarts featured at this traditional coffee shop are the perfect break in the day. The sweet creamy taste is balanced with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top. A secret recipe going back hundreds of years, this is not to be missed.
For a beach experience, visit Algarve. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, it’s population triples during the summer months. With an expansive coastline, Algarve has the Ria Formosa coastline where hundreds of birds make their home. Tourists can enjoy the limestone caves and grottoes for a quiet and private day at the beach. You can choose from high scale resorts to the more traditional guesthouses for lodging. Algarve is also famous for its pottery, especially the tiles. Be sure to visit the pottery outlets as their work is treasured across the world.
One of the little known facts about Algare is that it houses Rooman ruins. The ruins are located near Estoi and were originally part of a villa dated back to the 3rd century. They included the main residence a temple, and baths. The motifs are colorful mosaics that depict the coastal city. This is a must see for any historian in the group.
Any guide to Portugal would be incomplete without mentioning Madeira. First discovered in 1419, it has been made famous for Madeira wine, lanscapes, and the annual New Year celebration that has the largeset fireworks show in teh entire world. The island is at the top of a massive volcano which is now dormant. Be sure to walk down the Avenida Arriago lined with jacaranda trees. This street leads to the cathedral and is the way to get to the main cultural attractions. For a decadent experience, stay at Reid’s Palace Hotel. Winston Churchill, Princess Stephanie, and many other well-known figures have stayed in this luxurious 19th century hotel.
These three locations are some of the most popular destinations for tourists. However, every town in Portugal has its own unique attractions and flavor. Plan a trip that ensures you will be able to see several of these places. The historic sites and landmarks as well as the upscale and artsy feel of Portugal have something to offer everyone!